Superheroes are known for their alter egos. Katy Tessman Stanoch of Minnetonka recently revealed hers.

At the second annual "Of Scars" portrait exhibition at Fox Egg Gallery in Minneapolis, the singer/songwriter and mother of two boys was one of the featured breast cancer survivors.

In her portrait, Stanoch posed with her hands triumphantly on her hips in a chest-baring Wonder Woman costume, complete with magical bracelets and cape.

Her display of strength was hard-earned. Nearly two years ago, Stanoch had a double mastectomy on her 40th birthday. "A lot of superheroes have been generated by radiation," she said, citing Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk and the Fabulous Four. "All of that chemotherapy has to be good for something."

Photographers Kate Bailey and Elli Rader created "Of Scars" as a website ( and annual event after Bailey's mom had breast cancer.

"I was shocked after my mother's mastectomy about how medicalized, defeminized and desexualized breasts are in our culture," said Bailey. Rader photographed Bailey's mom without her shirt on with the message scrawled on her chest: "Breasts are not for saving, women are."

Through mostly word-of-mouth, women approached the duo about being photographed. "I've never done a topless photo," said Stanoch. "When I saw last year's pictures, read the blog and met the survivors, I decided this is something that I must do on my journey."

When Stanoch had her "Of Scars" photos taken, she tapped into her powers. "When I unbuttoned, I knew this was part of my healing," she said.

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177